Student Bridget graduates with First Class Honours with help of Newman’s Sanctuary Scholarship

17/08/2020 by Sinead Staunton

Student Bridget Obi celebrates achieving first class honours

Bridget Obi, was born in Nigeria and after seeking asylum in the UK with her daughter, wanted to ensure that she was able to help and support others who are going through the immigration system. Bridget wanted to help people integrate into society and be the voice as an advocate on behalf of those who are not able to speak up for themselves.

With this in mind, Bridget began looking to study towards her degree, commenting:

“I had the first opportunity in 2012 to study an access to Nursing course but unfortunately, I was told I was not eligible for a student loan because I was an asylum seeker. That really knocked me down. But I was over the moon when I heard about the article 26 project.

“There was just a week to the closing date but being the fighter I am, I decided to go for it. This has given me the opportunity to study at ease without thinking of paying back a loan like some students would do when they eventually start working. This has given me the opportunity to study a course of my choice, where I can give back to the society at large.

“This is an opportunity for those of us not eligible for student loan wishing to study irrespective of their status.

“It was an opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands. It was the only choice and I am glad I did not look back. They say first impression matters and I was impressed when I walked into Newman University; the warm welcome and smiles.”

Newman University’s Sanctuary Scholarship, which is part of the Article 26 Project, promotes access to higher education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK.

Bridget studied her Health and Social Care degree at Newman University and has this year completed her studies, becoming the third Sanctuary Scholarship graduate to graduate with a First Class Honours in the past three years, commenting: “Newman University is the first university with a very good student/tutor relationship. They encourage one-to-one tutoring which has really helped me especially during my dissertation. The small class sizes are good for interaction between students and tutors. Staff in my departments are just blessed with a big heart to see that each student are duly listened to, to bring out the best in each of the student.”

Director of Student Services. Siân Howarth commented “It was wonderful to be able to make a Newman University Sanctuary Scholarship award to Bridget and I’m thrilled that she has not only followed her dreams of studying at university, but achieved a 1st Class degree. As a student parent and with no access to statutory student funding, she has overcome many challenges along the way. But Bridget’s determination to succeed and compassion for others was clear from the start, which is why we knew she would make an excellent ambassador for our scholarship scheme and for Newman University.”

Bridget has been able to volunteer with charity organisations dealing with asylum and refugees and explains that with her degree she has broadened her horizon and how to apply it to society when needed. Looking to the future Bridget plans to continue her work in the voluntary sector, commenting: “I intend to work with organisation dealing with the asylum and refugees fleeing from persecution and seeking sanctuary in other countries. I promised myself I will remain in this sector and give my all if I am capable. This is to give support, advise and encourage them to do the best for themselves and never to give up.”

Explaining that she feels happy to have achieved her goals after a long time, Bridget added “I wish to say a very big thank you to my daughter who has been on this journey with me. I would also like to use this opportunity to say thank you to friends and supporters who believed in me and of course Newman University for giving me the opportunity to study at the university and become a graduate.”

Bridget will celebrate her achievements at Newman’s annual graduation ceremony which will take place in March next year.